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House Acts on Cyber Bills Today, Senate Needs to Follow

The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote today on four separate cybersecurity- related bills. The four pieces of legislation cover a number of issues ranging from improving the Federal cybersecurity workforce to facilitating more sharing of real-time threat information between the public and private sector. The NAM applauds the House for addressing a top priority for all manufacturers but we are still faced with a cold reality – if the Senate does not also act, none of these bills will become law.

The NAM has advocated aggressively for legislation that would increase the ability of the private sector to receive up-to-date information on the ever-present cyberthreat faced by manufacturers. Trade secrets, patents, customer data, and technological innovations are what separate manufacturers in the United States from their competitors. The NAM works on a number of different fronts to help protect this “secret sauce” but a government partner is needed. Federal Agencies have access to information that, if shared with the private sector, can do a great deal to help protect our innovation from bad actors. There has been a lot of talk from Congress about understanding this need, but little action.

Manufacturers place cybersecurity as one of their highest priorities. They are committed to keeping our assets secure and therefore keeping our nation safe. These and many other issues are at the top of the agenda of the NAM D.A.T.A. Center, a venue for NAM members to educate  policy makers and the general public to ensure they know the innovative breakthroughs in all aspects of life come from manufacturers. To get involved in the D.A.T.A. Center contact, Brian Raymond, NAM’s Director of Technology and Domestic Economic Policy.

NOTE:

The bills scheduled to be considered today by the House of Representatives are:

H.R. 2952 – The Critical Infrastructure Research and Development Act

H.R. 3107 – The Homeland Security Cybersecurity Boots-on-the-Ground Act

H.R. 3696 – The National Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure Protection Act

H.R. 3635 – Safe and Secure Federal Websites Act of 2013

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Internet Regulation Will Slow Manufacturing Growth

Manufacturers are innovation leaders. They leverage technology in every aspect of their business. It is in their products, their processes, and pervasive throughout their enterprise. All types of technology including software, sophisticated machines, and especially the internet have led to unprecedented growth in the manufacturing sector. Unfortunately, we continue to see more calls for regulation of the internet that if answered will only hinder manufacturing growth.

The issue of internet regulation and the negative impact it will have on manufacturing is not new to the NAM. We recently weighed in with the D.C. Circuit that the FCC did not have the authority to adopt rules to regulate the internet. The Court’s decision supported our position. And just today we heard Members of Congress and witnesses agree during a hearing of the United States House of Representatives Judiciary Committee that more regulation will stifle investment and innovation

Despite strong opposition by the courts, many policymakers, and especially manufacturers, some in Congress and the Administration still want to make another attempt to regulate the internet. As manufacturers utilize communications technologies to connect their shopfloors, their products, and their customers the NAM will continue to stress our member-driven policy: Regulations that have the potential to dampen private industry’s incentive to invest in technology and the internet will hurt the manufacturing comeback.

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NAM Weighs in with White House on Cybersecurity

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) today joined more than 20 other associations from a diverse set of industries on a letter to White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Michael Daniel. The letter was in response to a May 22 blog by Daniel in which he recognized the important partnership that has to exist between the public and private sector in order to enhance our nation’s cybersecurity.

The NAM has called for legislation to increase the ability to share information between manufacturers and the federal government. This legislation has passed the House and we encourage the Senate to also act. Manufacturers have also actively participated in the development of the NIST Cybersecurity framework and will continue to engage. As the letter states, the NAM agrees with Mr. Daniel that the framework “should remain collaborative, voluntary, and innovative over the long term” and should not lead to a new regulatory regime.

Manufacturers are committed to keeping our assets secure and therefore keeping our nation safe. The letter captures many of the initiatives already underway across many industries to educate companies on the latest cybersecurity tools and trends. The NAM’s D.A.T.A. Center is highlighted in the letter as one of the innovative ways manufacturers are working together on the issue of cybersecurity and our other technology priorities.

The NAM and our members continue to remain vigilant against the persistent cyberthreat in today’s connected world. We are pleased to see the White House make these public statements that the want to partner with us in these efforts.

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Senators Look at America’s Innovation Pipeline

The Senate Appropriations Committee is holding a hearing today called “Driving Innovation Through Federal Investments” and what impact sequestration and other budget cuts are having on innovation in America.

Manufacturers for years have been the world’s leading innovators. We have the most patents and spend the most on research and development than any other industry. The NAM is an aggressive leader on behalf of manufacturers and ensuring their continued ability to innovate.

In many instances, manufacturers will partner with universities and the government on groundbreaking research that is much more difficult to achieve if these types of partnerships did not exist. What we have seen recently is that due to sequestration and across-the-board, indiscriminate budget cuts, the United States is facing an innovation deficit compared to other countries and their investment in innovation. The NAM warned of this potential “brain drain” – the innovation infrastructure, and the men and women behind it, must be constantly nurtured. Otherwise we will see it rust and eventually disappear.

The NAM co-chairs the Task Force on American Innovation, a group of leading corporations, universities, and professional societies supporting public-private partnerships, which weighed in with the Senate Appropriations Committee by submitting testimony for today’s hearing. The Task Force and other groups called on Congress to take a sensible approach to our nation’s fiscal challenges that allows wise investments in research and education and creates economic and job growth.

America is still the unquestionable leader in manufacturing and innovation. But we are risking that lead if we don’t close the innovation deficit.

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Manufacturers Stand Strongly Behind Public-Private Partnerships for Innovation

As Jay Timmons, NAM president and CEO, has been saying overseas in Germany and Belgium this week, ALL manufacturing is advanced manufacturing these days. It is fueled by innovation and technology that delivers life-changing and life-improving products. However, that sort of innovation doesn’t just happen – it takes effort, dedicated resources and a commitment from both the public and private sector.

The Senate Committee for Commerce, Science and Technology is set to mark-up legislation tomorrow, S. 1468 that would authorize funding for manufacturing hubs across the country. The pilot program in Youngstown, Ohio has already delivered success in additive manufacturing solutions and we expect even greater things as the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) expands.

The NAM strongly supports this legislation, and Timmons has highlighted it’s potential benefits to Chairman Rockefeller (D-WV) and Ranking Member Thune (R-SD). The potential of these hubs are critical to our future way of life. As Timmons wrote, “The type of public-private manufacturing hubs that S. 1468 would authorize funding for would not only lead to groundbreaking developments that have the potential to be on par with the light bulb or the airplane but it will get these products to market faster and drive the growth of jobs in the United States versus outside our borders.”

Manufacturers will continue to stand behind the NNMI and legislation that will put the necessary resources behind it.

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Timmons Talks Advanced Manufacturing in Germany

NAM’s President and CEO Jay Timmons is in Hannover, Germany talking up manufacturing in the U.S. and the sleek, technology driven processes that make our nation the best place to make things in the world. Advanced manufacturing is a term that is often used, but the reality is that manufacturers have been the innovation leaders for decades and  ALL manufacturers know that to compete in a global marketplace they must use advanced processes and technologies.  The intersection of technology and manufacturing is a fascinating place – and the next generation of life changing products are coming out of shop floors in the United States.

Manufacturers spend more on research and development than any other sector of our economy. Companies like Harley Davidson, Texas Instruments and others are using sophisticated software and the Internet of Things to become more efficient and move through production more quickly. Timmons told the audience in Hannover these stories and rededicated manufacturers need for, and commitment to, innovation. He voiced his strong  support for the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, “hubs” that are bringing together the private and public sectors to spur the development of new technologies, partnerships inspired by similar initiatives in Germany.

As Timmons remarked, “Our increasingly competitive global marketplace demands that manufacturers continue to strive for that technological edge.”

It’s trips and partnerships like these that will get us there.

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Today’s Cybersecurity Framework Must Not Lead to New Regulations Tomorrow

One year ago, President Obama issued an Executive Order on cybersecurity tasking the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to coordinate meetings with the private sector and produce a cybersecurity “framework” for owners and operators of critical infrastructure. The final version of that framework was released today after much input by all segments of manufacturing.

NIST held a series of workshops around the country and solicited feedback from the private sector on how best the government can partner with owners and operators of critical infrastructure to create this framework. They sought input on technology, standards, and implementation among other issues. The result is a 40+ page document that includes recommended activities and best practices to help secure networks and data in critical infrastructure sectors. The framework also provides “profiles” and “tiers” aimed at assisting organizations benchmark their current cybersecurity practices.

This framework and the related policy debate matter to all manufacturers because we are the owners, operators, and builders of critical infrastructure. Because of this all NAM members take cybersecurity very seriously and they welcomed the opportunity to work with the Administration on this important effort. Manufacturers understand that our economic security is linked directly to our cybersecurity. As the President rightly said in his statement issued today on the framework, “our economy is harmed by the theft of our intellectual property”. This is the reason that manufacturers go to great lengths to secure their enterprise and we were pleased to see many of our current best practices included in the framework.

As manufacturers and policymakers examine the framework, the NAM continues to stress that it must remain voluntary. Any attempt to turn these guidelines into mandatory regulations will have the opposite effect of enhancing cybersecurity. As the NAM has said numerous times to the Administration and Congress, the best way to increase cybersecurity of our critical infrastructure is to pass legislation that allows for the sharing of information between the public and private sector without the threat of liability for doing so.

The NAM looks forward to continuing our work with the Administration and Capitol Hill on this top priority for manufacturers.

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Keep the Internet Open for Business

The internet has helped drive manufacturing growth over the last two decades. The NAM witnessed this first-hand just last week at the International Consumer Electronics Show. The innovative ways manufacturers are using internet-based technology was the dominant theme found throughout the more than two million square feet of exhibit space. It was also made very clear by these same manufacturers that any unnecessary regulation of the internet may severely stifle this innovation.

We were pleased to see the D.C. Circuit agree yesterday when it decided that 20th century regulations should not be applied to the internet. NAM member companies have leveraged the internet to grow their business, their product and service offerings, to communicate with their customers and employees, and to revolutionize their shop floors.

For this growth to continue the internet needs to stay open for business and therefore the laws currently governing this space need to be updated. The Court’s decision affirms that telecommunication laws need to be brought into the 21st century in order to foster more innovation in the manufacturing industry. The NAM looks forward to working with Congress as they consider how to modernize our legal and regulatory system to reflect today’s technologies and the way that manufacturers use the internet.

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Spectrum is Rocket Fuel for Manufacturers

 

At this year’s 2014 Consumer Electronics Show Gary Shapiro, CEO of NAM member Consumer Electronics Association which puts on CES said it was hard to find anything at the show that is not connected to the internet. Cars are embedded with microprocessors and refrigerators can now tell you when you are out of milk. For this communication to happen seamlessly all these innovations need one thing above all else: they need spectrum – or airwaves – to be available.

Manufacturers are well aware of the importance of spectrum availability to their business and their customers. They use it at their facilities, in their products and in their workforce. They have used it to make their enterprises more efficient ranging from advances in machine to machine technology to smart agriculture tools that can remotely tell the moisture and temperature levels of soil. As a panelist from Verizon said this week, there is an “expectation of connectedness” now. In short, manufacturers are dependent on it spectrum being available.

On a panel discussion we heard a representative from Samsung say that spectrum is rocket fuel for innovation. Frankly, given the innovative breakthroughs that manufacturers have pioneered, we think that spectrum is rocket fuel for manufacturing as well. Lawmakers and regulators must understand that any decisions made on spectrum need to include the manufacturing sector.

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Manufacturers Make the Internet of Things

Communicating electronically is no longer limited to just phones and computers. Everybody knows that. Many of us have televisions we use to go online and cars that give us driving directions.  But do any of you have a coffee cup that tells you if your baby is too hot in her crib with that extra blanket? How about a mousetrap that sends you a text when it needs attention? You don’t yet – but you will.

These are some of the innovations we saw coming from manufacturers this week at the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show. Intel announced a new chip with powerful built-in technology that can power garments equipped with sensors that can send a message to a display on coffee mug. Texas Instruments has used their expertise in innovation to develop a mousetrap that can be monitored remotely. Chevrolet has equipped their vehicles with technology so they are now wifi hotspots for all your devices.

All of these devices, sensors, phones, computers, appliances – basically everything and the kitchen sink connect electronically and collect data to help us work and live more efficiently. These billions of connections are being called the “Internet of Things” and it was a top theme at CES.

Manufacturers are leading the internet of things (IoT) revolution. We make and use the products, technology, and networks that power the IoT. This is why we launched the NAM D.A.T.A. Policy Center last year – to ensure policy makers and the general public know the innovative breakthroughs in all aspects of life come from manufacturers.

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